Despite disagreement over length, academics and broadcasters say writing remains the top skill

Every year in August, we write a story about public relations education and back to school. Our goal is to find out whether or not the academy’s curriculum is aligned with PR’s needs. In previous years, we have found that to be the case. Again this year, the consensus among academics and PR professionals is that written and oral communication are the most critical skills for young PR candidates. [please see chart].

However, there was disagreement in one key area, the length of writing.

Teachers emphasize short writing, almost to the exclusion of long work.

On the other hand, the PR professionals we spoke with say that long-form writing remains important.

To make things more opaque, some of the PR professionals included here also teach university courses.

Long vs Short

“With the digital aspects embedded in this generation…we are finding benefits in [candidates having skills in] long write-up,” says Kelly Williamson, president of North America, APCO Worldwide. Williamson is an adjunct professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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